Julie Marie Berman is a two-time Daytime Emmy winner for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series for her work as Lulu Spencer Falconeri on General Hospital. However, this year she has gone to the even bigger leagues landing her first Daytime Emmy nod in the Outstanding Supporting Actress category at this year’s 40th annual Daytime Emmys, to be presented on Sunday night, June 16th on HLN!
But in what has been a tumultuous year for the talented star, Berman made the decision to leave her role of Lulu after 8 years, breaking the hearts of many fans who clamored for more of the love story between Lulu and her husband, Dante Falconeri (Dominic Zamprogna). With what appears to be a somewhat unfulfilling final year of her contract, where Lulu was not driving or that integral to story, Berman made the tough decision to try something she wanted to do, to see what else is out there for her. And, as anyone who has seen her work knows, the sky is the limit for where Julie will appear next, taking with her a supportive legion of fans.
On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Julie upon her receiving the exciting news of another Daytime Emmy nomination, and to check in to see how she is feeling about her departure from GH, what factors played into her exit, and to celebrate with her as we get ready to find out, will Julie take home her third piece of gold as the ultimate topper on a fantastic soap career? Here’s the cutest gal we know, in a very candid conversation, Julie Marie Berman.
Congratulations on being nominated again this year! What episode did you submit to garner a Supporting Actress nod?
JULIE: It’s good to be nominated again, and very charmed! I ended up submitting the episode with Lulu and Luke, where Lulu discusses her drinking, and they reconcile their temporarily estranged relationship.
Why did you decide on that episode?
JULIE: Two reasons: 1) I didn’t have a lot to pick from, so it was pretty easy. 2) The day we filmed that episode it was very personal, and you can kind of feel when you have just gone through something with another actor and you think to yourself, “Wow. That was great. We just went somewhere and I look forward to seeing that on TV, because I do not even know where we went.” So that is kind of how it felt, sort of transcendental, all most.
That’s amazing, because your former on-screen brother, Jonathan Jackson (Ex-Lucky) told me that last year in his Daytime Emmy winning scenes, in working with Tony Geary (Luke) that those scenes went some place and took him to some place.
JULIE: Yes, that’s exactly how it is. Obviously, Tony is the type of an actor that those things can happen with him a lot of times, and that was the last time he and I had material that was of that substance. It was very special to me, and a no-brainer in comparison to the rest of the year. It was just a really special episode.
Does Tony make everyone better?
JULIE: (Laughs) I think it’s hard not to say that he doesn’t make everyone better. I mean, he is a real presence, and obviously very talented, and a very giving actor. And when you are present in everything you do, I think it’s impossible for him to not elevate the other person he is working with. We have worked together for so long that we have a great off-camera relationship that it’s not hard for us to go to these wonderful places when we do get to work together.
So many fans are upset that you are gone from General Hospital, and that you made the decision to leave. How are you feeling about that now? It’s kind of bittersweet that you got an Emmy nomination.
JULIE: It definitely was not easy to leave. It was my decision. I knew that it was going to be difficult. There was a mourning process for me to let-go of the character, and let-go of my friends, and let-go of her little life that I have lived. I still miss it. I am not over it. But it was the right decision for me to leave, and still feels right. It is affording me the freedom to try other things, and that is what I wanted. That is kind of where I am with it. I miss Lulu, but I am happy that I have this time in my life to see what happens, because I have no idea what’s going to happen next.
Did GH tell you when you were leaving that they were recasting the role of Lulu, now played by Emme Rylan?
JULIE: No, they didn’t. I didn’t find out till the very end. I had heard they were maybe doing that, but no one talked to me. I don’t know that they needed to tell me. It was my decision to leave. They’ve got to do what they got to do at that point to make sure that their show is on top. If that means recasting Lulu, then that’s what they have to do.
So many times in soaps, wonderful performers leave the medium after they worked so hard to define a character that they are known for. It must be hard to see when someone else steps into the role.
JULIE: It’s very unique to the medium. There is no entertainment show, or movie, or anything, where someone just steps in and it picks up where you left off. It’s part of the game that you play when you work in daytime.
Have you watched General Hospital since your departure from the series?
JULIE: No, I don’t watch it anymore. I did tune-in to see the Nurses Ball and 5oth anniversary, of course. So I was able to see the fun dances and song, and it was wonderful to watch, and to see everyone totally out of the box. But other than that, no I have not been watching, because I think I have to cut the cord at some point.
Kelly Sullivan (Kate/Connie) did not get a land a Daytime Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series category for her riveting work and reel! Were you shocked?
JULIE: I am very surprised, because I think the world of her, and I know you do, too. She is incredibly talented and deserves recognition beyond recognition for that incredible work.
Winning a Daytime Emmy many times is about having that perfect storm: the perfect storyline with the perfect scenes that are classics that stands the test of time. However, some would argue that sometimes there seems to be no logic in who eventually wins!
JULIE: If you are on the show long enough and you get into the Emmy game, it is completely unpredictable. There is really no formula that things necessarily work out for the right people, and that is the way that it is. It is based on one episode and not your body of work. So, if you take it for that, and you don’t let it mean something more than when you are not nominated or recognized, then when it happens it’s great, touching, and humbling. And when it doesn’t happen that’s OK, too, because you don’t rely on it. I would think that Kelly would 100% feel that way. She does not need a nomination to prove anything. Who knows? There is always next year, and the next year, and so it can always work out.
Which of your Daytime Emmy victories or nominations is the most special to you?
JULIE: They are all special, and it’s not something to be taken lightly! I can’t say one is better than the other. Obviously, this nomination is one of the best, because I am not on GH anymore. I get to see my friends, and I am in the Supporting Actress adult category for the first time! (Laughs) So it feels nice to be among peers that I look up to, not that I did not look up to people I was nominated with in the Younger Actress category, but it is a different level and more competitive within the group. I feel really grateful this year, and surprised and humbled, by the significance of it with the timing of everything that has happened this year.
You judged on the blue-ribbon panel in the Supporting Actor category this year. What did you think overall when you saw the performances?
JULIE: They were fantastic! What is amazing is the level of talent in daytime. It is extraordinary, and so wonderful that we can pat ourselves on the back in this environment, because we work out butts off. I think there are a lot of talented people in all the categories, but definitely in the Supporting Actor and Actress categories. It is nothing short of an honor to be among the finalists. It is very cool.
Is putting on the dress and getting all dolled up something you dread, or love to do for Daytime Emmy night?
JULIE: Oh, I love it, are you kidding? I love dressing up! I am totally excited to pick out a dress, and get my hair done and make-up, especially really dressed up. You don’t get to do that every day.
Did you hear from your long-time scene partner Dominic Zamprogna when you received the news that you were an Outstanding Supporting Actress nominee for the first time?
JULIE: Yes, and we do stay in touch. A lot of people texted me and congratulated me. They are all excited that this provides an excuse for all of us to hang out again!
Dante and Lulu in the last year were not given much material to work with as a couple. Was it hard once they were married to keep them relevant in story?
JULIE: Oh, totally! The marriage was rushed and they rushed that story point. I forget why. It was not supposed to happen as quickly as it did. It felt rushed for us as actors, and for the audience. However, everyone was OK with it, because everyone loves to see love. However, I think it definitely killed a lot of momentum and things they could have done and played with before reaching that peak. Dante and Lulu got married, and then after that it felt like they definitely did not know what to do with my character. They did not have a job for her. It felt like a transitory period, where I did not know where they were going. I did not feel that Lulu was firing on all cylinders. Her character wasn’t quite right. It took them awhile to decide where they wanted to go with it. It was too bad. They have a lot of characters on the canvas that they had to worry about, and I think Dante and Lulu were written into a corner a little bit when the new team came into fix everything. I think they figured out a very cool storyline for the character, since.
Your final GH scenes were with Kirsten Storms (Maxie). This was set-up as Maxie’s dream (or nightmare) on what would happen if Lulu found out Maxie had been lying about the baby! What did you think of those moments?
JULIE: I loved it. I really didn’t get to play that kind of material this past year. I love that kind of stuff where the stakes are very high. It was really nice to have a glimpse of the payoff that I wanted to be able to play, but it obviously it did not time out with when I was leaving. So it was wonderful. As a last scene, on my last day, it felt good to have material where I could go all over the place.
It was played as a “what if” moment, so fans at least got to see your reaction as an actress inhabiting the role of Lulu in a key story point before you said goodbye! Thank goodness we got to see that. It was wonderful.
JULIE: It was an uncontained moment, and it was great. I felt it would have been very anti-climatic for me if I left and my last scenes were me lying on the floor pretending to be unconscious. (Laughs)
So, would you like to see Julie take home the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series at this year’s ceremonies? Do you miss seeing Julie on-screen as Lulu on General Hospital? Do you think that the character wasn’t written for properly over the last year that Julie was portraying her? Share your thoughts!